(Close Window)
Topic: Street Magic in San Francisico?
Message: Posted by: Ron Crumley (May 6, 2003 12:57PM)
Aside from the occasional improptu performer, does anyone know of regularly performing street magicians in San Francisco?

Planning a trip there in June and it would be great to see a pro in action.

Thanks for any responses.

Message: Posted by: RiffClown (May 6, 2003 02:14PM)
I used to perform there regularly back in the very early 90s. There were always a plethora of street performers at the piers.

It's actually where I got my start in clowning. Time may have changed though.

There's also a pretty good atmosphere of magic in the Monterey Bay Cannery area as well. (or at least there used to be) :)
Message: Posted by: JamesinLA (May 6, 2003 02:36PM)
Isn't that where Harry Anderson used to perform?
Message: Posted by: Ron Crumley (May 7, 2003 08:57AM)

Thanks for the leads. I'll certainly check out the piers which are the closer of the two locations.
Message: Posted by: KingStardog (May 7, 2003 04:40PM)
Never saw anybody in Monterey, but did in San Francisco at the Warf. Down toward the square past the artists, and the silver man there may be one or two on the weekends. I never saw more than three at once. There have been a few in Old Town Sacramento and in the Gold country cities. Saw a C&B man in the Haight a little north of Ashbury last year. Maby its in the timing that I was in those spots.
Message: Posted by: Paul Chosse (May 8, 2003 01:54PM)
San Francisco has been home to some very famous magicians. I ran two magic shops in SF in the '70's. Harry Anderson and his wife Leslie did indeed work there for several years. There was also a three man act called "The Asparagus Valley Cultural Society", working the streets in the late '70's, and I was booking acts for a theater on Broadway. I booked them from the street to the theater for a week, and they stayed a year! When they moved on they dropped one of the performers, changed thier stage name to "Penn and Teller", and the rest is history. There was a great medicine man who worked the streets with a medicine pitch and magic act, Dr. H.P. Lovecraft. There were jugglers, vents, and magicians galore!

This tradition continues, though the performers have changed. The places to go are The Cannery at Ghiradelli Square, and Pier 39, on Fishermans Wharf. They are well known tourist locations, and any native, cab driver, or policeman, and most tourists, will be happy to direct you.

One act you are sure to see is a fellow named Jerry Salazar, who has been performing continuously at Fishermans' Wharf for the last 25+ years! He does a silent three ring routine to draw a crowd, and then gets into his show. It is nothing if not polished, after 25 years of repetition! Enjoy one of the greatest cities on earth, and hopefully you'll see some good magic while you are at it...

Best, PSC
Message: Posted by: KingStardog (May 8, 2003 03:59PM)
Thanks Paul,
I suspected I was there at the wrong times. I did block for the Bushman while I was down there, and man was it funny! A 5 second show that runs hundreds of times a day.

Message: Posted by: Allen Gittelson (May 9, 2003 01:43AM)
The Bushman has the best show going. If you don't know, don't ask. Just walk around and you'll find out. If we tell you in advance, it'll spoil the surprise.

I am a regular performer on the streets (sidewalk actually) near Pier 39. Just past the silver men, and the circle... across the street from the Johnny Rockets is my usual spot. Feel free to say hello if you visit.

There are not many magicians these days other than occasionally on the stage at the end of Pier 39 itself, and sometimes Ghirardelli Square. Other than Jerry, Jay Alexander (who has worked the G. Square, and probably other places), the guys on Pier 39, and myself, I don't know of any magicians working out there. There are tons of other things going on though too.

If you want to see a wild street show that doesn't involve magic, keep your eyes peeled for Chris Karney. He is crass, but he can gather & keep a crowd and entertain the heck out of them. I always enjoy watching Chris perform.

There's a crew around that run the shell game in that area who are extremely slick. If you want to see a scam in action, check it out. If you bet any money, that's the last you'll see of it.

Also, Fred Anderson is a fantastic entertainer, juggler, prop comic, and sometimes does some magic. You can catch him on Pier 39 at the stage if you're lucky. He's super.

Mental Wires,
Message: Posted by: KingStardog (May 9, 2003 10:46AM)
Hey Alan,

Whats the permit situation for that area between pier 39 and the square? where do you apply and how much?

Message: Posted by: Allen Gittelson (May 9, 2003 10:02PM)

If you are charging a fee for what you do, then you need a permit from the city. Visit San Francisco city hall if you need a permit. I would highly recommend you get some advice from someone who has a permit beforehand. That could help you avoid some problems and the runaround.

If you are busking and seeking tips, then no permit is required. I personally am busking when I perform in that area.

My business is registered with the city and I declare my income from busking as well the paid gigs that are a regular part of my business.

Mental Wires,

Message: Posted by: KingStardog (May 12, 2003 12:50AM)
Thank you Allen,
I was interested in busking and tips. I may see you down there in a bit when the rough edges are gone. I'm in the process of re-inventing the performer right now, hopfully with a much better attitude and performace in the end.

Message: Posted by: Steve Brooks (Jun 11, 2003 04:51AM)
San Francisco can indeed be a lot of fun, but I think one should ponder these words;
"[i]The coldest winter I ever felt was the summer I spent in San Francisco[/i]" - [b]Mark Twain[/b]

Oh so true. :)
Message: Posted by: Dorian Rhodell (Jun 12, 2003 04:03AM)
There's also a pretty slick 3 card crew out there as well. I wonder if it's the same people? Does anyone here know?

Take care,

Dorian Rhodell
Message: Posted by: Allen Gittelson (Jun 14, 2003 09:35PM)

Are you wondering if the 3 card crew is the same as the shell game crew? If not, I don't understand your question.

I have never seen the shell crew running a card con. I exclusively see them running the shells. I have yet to see the 3 card monte crew, though several local magicians have told me about the card crew.

Mental Wires,
Message: Posted by: markkwan (Jun 18, 2003 12:05AM)
I actually went to SF a few months back and watched a magic act at the wharf. I looked up two magic stores in the SF area but never quite had the time to go to them. I think I really missed out. I will return to SF soon. where can I find performers besides the wharf?
Message: Posted by: Allen Gittelson (Jun 18, 2003 01:33AM)
You can always call Joe @ Misdirections 415.566.2180 and he'll know what's going on and who is where around town. You can also check his website at http://www.misdirections.com.

Most of the shows I perform are private, but I do post the public shows at my website http://MentalWires.com

Mental Wires,
Message: Posted by: Ashkenazi the Pretty Good (Jun 29, 2003 07:42PM)
Hey Steve,

Actually, the Twain attribution you note is quite possibly the most famous sentence he never said nor wrote.

Yet Another English major,
Message: Posted by: robsigns (Sep 25, 2003 03:45PM)
I saw Jerry Salazar near Ghiradelli square this past Summer. Good act.
Then, the next day I saw the 3 shell "team" working more downtown, down the street from Union Square across from Old Navy. That was the exciting part for me. I've been doing the 3 shell game for awhile, but until then had never seen it really being done, as a con, on the street. It was entertaining to say the least. Of course, I didn't place a bet. Those guys just won't let you win....
Message: Posted by: Ron Giesecke (Sep 28, 2003 10:16PM)
I was in San Francisco a few months ago (took my kids to see The Wiggles--Nob Hill Masonic Temple) and saw a Juggler on one of the corporate stages at Pier 39. He was quite good, but somehow his name escapes me. he performs a little magic, but finds juggling to be a little more exclusive.

If I can find his brochure, I'll post his name, but I have a feeling that it may have gone the way of Gary Coleman's career.

If anybody knows who he is, I'd like to be reminded. It included his name in way that it read "The Bob (or whatever) Show"

If you've never been there before, you may notice these people who wear foil suits and are painted. They do not move a muscle unless you pay them. It's like the stoic mannequins that grace the gates of Buckingham palace.

Try to make one laugh, that's all I'm saying. I've thought of goosing one (in a nice, concilatory sort of way), to see what happens, but that would make me look touristy, and stupid.

Maybe I'll pay somebody else to do it.

Message: Posted by: gforster (Oct 10, 2003 12:29PM)
Yeah San Fran has some pretty cool stuff going on there. As for Monterey - that's where I'm from. Every once in awhile there would be someone there near the Carousel. I haven't seen any street performers there in ages. The closest you get is the guy with the monkey down by Fisherman's Wharf. BTW, the only magic shop I could ever find in the area was Zucchini's located underneath the Carousel. It was mainly a gift shop and they had tons of costumes, but they had soem decent magic stuff as well. I miss home.
Message: Posted by: Shawn74 (Oct 12, 2003 09:49AM)
The show you may be thinking of is the Keith Show. I can't remember Keith's last name, but I worked with him for a while here in New Mexico. He works at the Pier, or at least used to. He did juggling and we enticed him to pick up a little bit of magic for his act as well. LOL.
Did he have these crazy diamond shaped glasses? If so, that's the guy. He's great and very funny.
Message: Posted by: Ron Giesecke (Oct 27, 2003 04:19PM)

It [i]was[/i] The keith Show. Yes, he's very good. he has a good bit with a the kids, where the parents think he's getting ready to put the kid in danger. It never happens--he doesn't even come close, but the tension at the beginning is really cool.

Thanks for clearing it up for me!

Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Oct 27, 2003 04:58PM)
Teatro Zinzanni is a MUST at I believe Pier 39. Look for ads in the papers or check their website. One of the great shows. Dinner, show, etc. around 90 on weekends, cheaper weekdays.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Oct 27, 2003 06:39PM)
So.. when's the best time to go to the pier to see a good street magician?

Saturday around noon?
Message: Posted by: Steve Hart (Nov 10, 2003 08:49AM)
I was in San Fran the week of Oct. 25th.

I also saw "the Keith Show!" juggler on the street stage Pier 39, behind the Merry Go-Round.

I spoke with him and encourage him in job well done.
His website is, http://www.comedyjuggling.com

He said there was very little magic performed on Pier 39 now. Hey it is tough work, I know.
But for you young guys, it is the best way to learn this business and get experience. I will be looking for you.

Steve Hart
Cape Canaveral, FL USA
Message: Posted by: BikeMan (May 1, 2004 02:28AM)
I like the SF Magic scene. On the weekends you can see Allen Gittleson who is a great mind reader. And of course many jugglers and they have the best card manipulator in northern cali Alex Gonzalez. There is also a young magician named Alex Datul who's at Ghiradelli Square sometimes.... Hahah Another Alex... My self... I'm still trying to get up the nerve to ask a stranger if they want to see "Be Honest what is it?" And I've done the trick like a hundred times....
Message: Posted by: LeConte (May 4, 2004 05:30PM)
Bikeman, I assume that you hang out at Misdirections?
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (May 4, 2004 06:10PM)
Hey Bikeman,
I used that effect at the baseball stadium a million times now. It goes over great.

See if The Oakland A's will let you cruise the concourse there and perform.

I perform at the Sacramento Rivercats stadium and I love it. They are the A's AAA ball team but apparently the attendence is more then the A's get.

Sort of like street-magic. Sort of like strolling magic.